Thursday, 29 September 2011

En route from Chinon to Braye yesterday we stopped at a roadside picnic spot just south of the junction of the D749 and D760 at Anché. It attracted our attention because of the glorious display of flowers growing  in swathes across the grass, making the most colourful carpet of blooms.

We noticed the land being prepared but we were not sure if it was going to be sown with grass or with les jachère fleuries, a wild flower mix. Strictly speaking the term 'jachère' refers to agricultural land left free from agricultural crops for one year and planted instead with the wild flower mix. When the plants flower they do not need watering or fertilising. The idea is that those flowers which flourish are the right ones for the environment. They will attract and provide cover for pollinating insects, small vertebrates and invertebrates.

The scheme is expanding and many communes sow les jachères fleuries on land such as that above. What an attractive and environmentally sound way to enhance a picnic area!

Whilst I was taking the pictures a French lady stopped to speak and I mentioned the blog.... I hope she has taken a look??!


Diane said...

I love these area of wild flowers they are just so beautiful. Great photos. Diane

Susan said...

I love them too. It's hard not to like anything so pretty, but it is worth noting that the flowers are often not native and I imagine are never grown from locally sourced seeds. This inevitably has an impact on biodiversity at the genetic level, not all of which will be positive or expected. Dutch studies have shown that these areas do not increase insect pollination levels in nearby target crops either. I don't think anyone is quite sure why. It's disappointing, as it was one of the reasons these seed mixes were originally trialled.

I've seen several new mixes this year, and it looks like people might be ditching the previously ubiquitous and non-native cosmos, so hopefully we are on the right track.